Prices are expected to go up so quickly that Direct Energy has stopped selling its "Power-to-Go" plan to new customers this summer, a prepaid plan that changes rates each month depending on wholesale prices. Instead, the company is encouraging its customers to lock in for longer periods of time. Customers who used up to 2,000 kilowatts each month could get a 12-month contract for 11.7 cents per kilowatt hour in May compared to the same plan for 9.1 cents per kilowatt hour one year earlier.
Based in Houston, TX, Direct Energy operates as a residential energy retailer in 11 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Centrica, plc, Direct Energy is now the largest residential energy supplier in North America. Various packages and plans are available to residential customers in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Texas and Massachusetts.
When you enroll in Wise Buy Conserve 12 Plus, our 12-month fixed price plan, not only will you get the same great price for a full year, but also the convenience of automatic payments and paperless billing. Usage Credit: $25 per billing cycle when usage is greater than 999 kWh and less than 2001 kWh. For new customers. Cancellation Fee: $200. PUCT# 10177
In Houston, 0% of people have switched to a plan that has some renewable energy component to it. Another 0% have switched to a plan that is partially renewable, while 0% have switched to a plan that powers homes completely by renewable electricity. This of course means that 100% of people have remained on a plan powered by traditional sources of electricity such as coal or nuclear power.
The increase in retail rates come as companies prepare for surging prices in the wholesale electricity markets where they buy their power. Forecasts of higher than normal temperatures and record power demand are coinciding with the shutdown of at least three coal-fired plants, leading to concerns that temporary shortages on the hottest summer days could send wholesale prices, which typically average less than $50 per megawatt hour, spiking to $3,000 per megawatt hour or higher. (A megawatt hour is 1,000 kilowatt hours.)
On the one hand, long-term, fixed-rate (contract) plans offer stability in pricing. If energy supply costs suddenly go up in your area, you won’t be left paying more than what you bargained for. You’ll have peace-of-mind. If you want to switch out of your contract before it ends with a lower cost plan, you’ll likely face a cancellation fee (early termination fee).